Last week, the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court ruled that all three elections for vacated seats in the Pennsylvania House will be held on Feb. 7.
House Republicans and Democrats had been contesting the dates for special elections in the 34th and 35th Districts. (The 32nd District election, necessitated by the death of Rep. Tony DeLuca was not in question.)
The court case was initiated by Rep. Bryan Cutler (R-100) who charged that the Democrats did not have a majority when Rep. Joanna McClinton (D-191) issued the writs of election. Cutler had issued his own writs of election, setting a May date for the two special elections in question.
However, Democrat Mark Rozzi became Speaker of the House earlier this month, receiving votes from 16 House Republicans, including Cutler. Upon becoming Speaker, Rozzi immediately affirmed the Feb. 7 dates.
After hearing of the Commonwealth Court’s ruling affirming the Feb. 7 date for all three special elections, Rozzi declared it “a victory for democracy.”
“As my first official act as Speaker of the House of Representatives, I immediately reaffirmed the Writs of Election scheduling the special elections for February 7 to ensure all voters in the commonwealth had representation without unnecessary delay or confusion,” Rozzi said in a Jan. 13 statement. “There is no reason to delay these special elections other than partisan politics, and that should never take precedence over the enfranchisement of over the 120,000 Pennsylvanians who reside in the 34th and 35th legislative districts.”
Cutler, on the other hand, said the Commonwealth Court chose to “ignore basic math and prior law in ordering all three of these elections be held together on Feb. 7.”